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Line Sheets:  Can It Increase Sales?

If you’ve worked hard to develop a product you are proud of, your goal is likely to get that product into the hands of as many people as possible.  Achieving the highest volume of sales possible is your lifeblood.  You’ve started pitching your product to everyone you know, and you’ve even gotten some face to face time with retailers who are eager to learn more about what you have to offer.  The only problem?  Those retailers are eager to learn about ten other brands and products as well.  You need something that will make your brand stand out from the others.  You need to make the most of the twenty seconds the potential buyer is going to give you and/or your presentation.  So how can you leave a lasting impression with a potential buyer?  How can you ensure your time with them (be it in person or via online communication) gives them everything they need to make an informed decision about whether or not to make a purchase?  The answer is a line sheet.  A solid line sheet can skyrocket your sales and set you apart from other brands.  It gives your brand and product personality, reference, and image.  It’s a way to give a potential buyer “just the facts” at their fingertips so that they can make a purchase immediately.  Sales go fast especially with larger, big-box retailers and a line sheet is the one way you can ensure your product and brand doesn’t get lost in the rabble of competition.

What, exactly, is a line sheet anyway?  A line sheet, also known as a wholesale line sheet, simply put, is like a smaller, more precise version of a product catalog.  They contain specific product information tailored to a specific buyer based on what that buyer may be interested in purchasing.  They include information about the collection or product such as product name or product descriptions, sku, shipping costs, purchase information, contact information, wholesale price, retail price, order minimums, and product availability.  Essentially it’s a Pro-forma type buying guide or sales tool for the potential buyer you are meeting with.  It lets them know exactly what to expect when they order a product from you.  Not simply-put, there’s a lot more that goes into creating an eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing line sheet than just some pictures of your gorgeous beaded necklaces and how much they’ll cost.  Think of a line sheet as the muscle behind your hustle.  You’ve made it into the ring, the line sheet gives them the one-two punch.

Here are some ways you can effectively use a line sheet to increase your sales.

  1. Pay attention to aesthetics—You already know the important part aesthetics play when it comes to brand development-you spent countless hours fine-tuning your logo and slogan.  The same aesthetic importance applies to line sheets.  Any time you meet with a buyer, you are probably entering an arena with a hundred other sellers ready to pitch a hundred other products they think are just as good, if not way better, than yours.  The line sheet you give your buyer has about two seconds to make an engaging and captivating first impression before it gets tossed into the “no thanks” pile.  So yeah, aesthetics are that big a deal.  Your layout should be easy to follow, should flow from page to page if multiple pages are included, and should highlight all imperative information a buyer needs to see.  Research has shown our brains are rewarded when we look at beautiful images.  We see something pleasing, our brains release endorphins.  It’s a reward system.  For a buyer, endorphins = purchases.  Think of your line sheet as something that rewards a buyer’s brain for viewing it.   If you know little about graphic design and photo editing, creating an aesthetically pleasing line sheet is going to be an arduous, downright torturous experience.  Hours spent typing “how to create a line sheet in word editing software” into a search engine will produce a plethora of results from people who, like you, have tried (and likely failed) to produce a line sheet worth presenting to a buyer.  In the end you’ve lost valuable time and produced a document that is likely subpar and not very appealing.

To avoid this, try a web-based application with loadable, ready-made templates to create dynamic line sheets in lightning speed. This can save you from hiring a graphic designer ($$$) and save you time (and sanity) by doing the job of creating a beautiful line sheet without the hassle.  Great line sheet software will have an endless supply of templates you can fully customize to your product and potential buyer with the aesthetic guesswork removed.  Simply plug your content into the already alluring templates to create professional, clean, and visually stimulating line sheets you can be sure will grab attention.

  1. Be Specific with Your Specs—You know your line sheet has to include all the important information about your products and collections, but you also need to make sure your product specs don’t become the entire backstory of how you created your brand from the basement of your mom’s house in Jersey.  Everyone loves a great “started from the bottom now we made it to the top” story, but we promise, a line sheet isn’t the time or place for one.  You need to make sure you’re giving your potential buyer the data they need in as little text as possible.  Remember—your line sheet has just a few seconds to catch attention, and once it has that attention, the life span is about a minute.  If you include every possible detail you can think of about your product, your buyer is going to get bored fast and move onto the next.  Sales made=zero.  Going back to aesthetics, consider including enough information to get the buyer motivated about the product while allowing enough white space on the page to allow their eyes to flow to the next area of information on the line sheet.  If there is too much information jumbled together on one page, three quarters of the information is lost into the great abyss.

Using a line sheet creation application is beneficial here as well.  Using a template can help you easily determine which specs to include on your line sheet and which to omit.  And it’s fully customizable for each line sheet you create, so you’re never locked in to one particular set of specifications.

  1. Keep it Simple—A line sheet isn’t a product catalog, and as such, it shouldn’t include so many products your buyer is overwhelmed and decides it would take too much time to view.  A line sheet is like a zoomed in cross-section of what you have to offer.  This is customized to each potential buyer depending on their target market, what items they’ve expressed interest in carrying, and what they’re initial budget may be.  All of your products are awesome, and if you get a sale on these select few, there could be time to pitch more, but for now, keep it simple on the line sheet by focusing on just one collection or one product at a time.  Suppose your brand sells wearable sun protection (e.g. hats, sunglasses, UV protective shirts and scarves, etc.).  You’ve hooked an interested retailer, an eyewear store, and they want to see your line sheet.  Your line sheet should focus solely on the product they are currently interested in carrying-in this case, your sunglasses.  If you’re attempting to throw a few hat images into the mix and cleverly include specs about how a hat can shield your eyes from the sun, your retailer is going to be distracted and spend exponentially valuable time trying to sort out information about the items she is actually interested in while paying zero attention to your hats and possibly becoming frustrated or disengaged by the fact they’re included in her line sheet.

The use of a template here is really going to save you from yourself.  Think of it like this:  If you create the line sheet on your own, you’re going to over-include information and images that aren’t vital to your line sheet simply because you created your brand and product and know it’s the best thing ever.  What you will end up with is a line sheet that is too long and so convoluted with images and information it’s not only an aesthetic nightmare, it’s information overload for anyone (except you) that looks at it.  Using a template means you can customize your line sheet in-bounds.  The template sets the boundaries, you fill them in.  Your buyer sees only what they’re interested in, and is able to make an on-the-spot decision about your product then and there.

  1. Promote, Hype, Sell–Line sheets aren’t just for an initial face to face or online product orientation.  You can also use a line sheet to introduce a new product to the market, promote a current marketing campaign, or amplify your sales of a particular existing product.  A line sheet can be like your brand’s own personal hype man.  If you’ve already established yourself with a retailer or buyer, a line sheet can be a great way to move them to try more of your products or increase the existing sales of your products to them.  A line sheet can also save you time and money and streamline the way you do business.  Instead of doing the door-to-door salesmen thing to introduce the newest item in your product line, you can create a line sheet that introduces the product, gives its specs, includes pricing and shipping information, and even includes an order form.  One email blast to your current client base with a line sheet and you’ve saved yourself hours of pavement pounding you can now use to work your business in other areas.

Additionally, a line sheet is a great way to encourage your buyers to participate in promotions you are offering.  A simple, one-page line sheet promoting a product that is currently discounted or could be beneficial during a specific time or season is a great way to encourage buyers to purchase more.  It is also extremely helpful for the buyer to frame their marketing strategies to their customers.  If you provide the buyer with the information they need to establish value in your product, they’ll pass that down to the consumer, which means more sales for you.

Because the nature of these types of line sheets are even faster moving than a typical product line sheet, using a template to create them is an absolute must.  If you’ve got a solid one-page template in your arsenal, you can create promotional line sheets on the fly and get them out to your clients in record time.

  1. Save Time, Save Money—You already know by now your line sheets are going to increase your sales by delivering your specific product information to potential buyers in an intriguing, attractive way.  You know this equates to more sales that happen faster and more often.  However, you’re also increasing your own profit margin by using line sheets, especially when using a template to create them.  Because line sheets are such an integral part of your business, it’s easy to see how you could spend an exorbitant amount of time in the creation process.  We all know money is time, so making sure your line sheet creation flows as smooth as your yoga class is crucial.  There’s no better way to make sure your line sheet creation runs like a well-oiled machine than using templates to create them.  Using templates saves your energy, time, and wallet.  With line sheet templates there’s never a need to hire an outside guy to create your line sheets, further protecting your precious budget from an unnecessary expense.  Using templates also means you’ll be able to mass-create line sheets quickly and send them to as many buyers as you can handle, instead of spending hours on each one.

Line sheets are an indispensable part of your business that can make or break your sales.  Providing buyers with the critical information they need to make a decision about whether to engage in business with you, line sheets have the ability to make lasting impressions on buyers and develop brand familiarity.  Creating line sheets can be time consuming and complicated, but with the use of web-based creation software, the line sheet creation process becomes efficient and streamlined.  Efficiently creating customizable line sheets for your business increases sales and saves your budget.

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